The new album from local garage-rock satirist Esmirelda, "Purse Severe," is quite the conversation piece. Unfortunately, most of it's not fit for polite conversation.
The 12-song disc includes "Teenage Romance Makes Me Sick," which won first place in the rock division of Billboard's 1998 Songwriting Contest. But the tune's attack on American consumer culture -- and, it seems, Middle East policy -- is mostly notable for the skittering sax of Ron Holloway, who is conspicuous on most of these tracks. Many of the other song titles can't be quoted here, although some idea of their approach can be construed from the fact that they celebrate such subjects as hermaphroditism, masturbation, rough sex and yeast infections.
Raunchy as such tunes are, they're easier to take than one titled "Chocolate Ice Cream," which turns out to be a lugubrious plea for AIDS and crack babies. "There's got to be a way," Esmirelda sings, "The children of today/ Don't deserve to have AIDS/ When all they want to do is play." After that, it's a relief to turn to the randy sentiments of -- no, can't mention that title either.
Appearing Friday at Phantasmagoria. To hear a free Sound Bite from Esmirelda, call Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and press 8127. (Prince William residents, call 690-4110.)